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A day in the life of Claire Pickthall

Posted: September 11, 2023

With Scottish Housing Day taking place this week, and this year’s theme focusing on housing as a career, we’re looking behind the scenes to see what our housing staff members do, and how their roles are vital in operating and continually developing the service we offer our tenants.

In this week’s first a day in the life feature, we’re following Head of Housing and Enterprises, Claire Pickthall.

Tell us a little bit about you.

I’ve had a varied career and worked in the NHS for many years before moving into 

the private sector, and finally into housing. All of the roles I’ve held have provided a sense of doing the right thing for people, whether that’s my teams or the ‘customer’ – as that’s what is important to me personally.

As Head of Housing and Enterprises, I have overall responsibility for delivering our high-quality housing services for Hillcrest Enterprises and Hillcrest Homes. This includes advising our boards and executive leadership team on proposed strategies to continually develop services and performance.  

How did you get into a career in housing?

By chance, as one of the teams I managed previously worked with Hillcrest, so when a job opportunity arose, I knew I wanted to apply and I haven’t looked back since!

What would you say to others who are considering a career in the housing sector?

It’s a rewarding and very worthwhile career – you’ll be making a difference to people’s lives. If you’re unsure if it’s for you, then come and shadow some of our teams to get an insight into what we do, as there are roles that you may not know exist!

Your day:

9 am: Today is one with a good few meetings. The first of these was a Microsoft Teams call with our Income and Tenant Participation Manager, Gillian, to check some revised Key Performance Indicators – basically targets that we want our teams to hit.

11 am: My next meeting was with colleagues from our HR department to discuss a proposed structuring of our housing staff and the next steps required.

1 pm: I started my afternoon with the third of today’s scheduled meetings – this time with two new Hillcrest Enterprises board members to provide an overview of Enterprises. Our board positions are voluntary roles, with people of a wide range of experience and backgrounds making up our Hillcrest Homes and Hillcrest Enterprises boards. The boards are responsible for setting goals, making strategic level decisions, and generally guiding these companies from strength to strength.

3 pm: My final meeting of the day was with the Hillcrest Action for Residents and Tenants Group (HART) to discuss their next tenant led inspection. This group is made up of tenant volunteers, helping us continually improve by scrutinising various aspects of our services and making recommendations.

5 pm: I rounded off my day by reviewing a Stage 1 complaint that was received by our housing department, and catching up on emails.